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Cora Shipman - (1894)


Posted By: Pat Hochstetler (email)
Date: 3/1/2008 at 13:00:54

Winterset Madisonian – June 29, 1894, page 7
Winterset, Iowa


Mr. Shipman, of Bevington, Accidentally Kills His Wife

He Drew His Revolver to Show How He Could Defend Himself and it Went Off With Deadly Effect.

By the accidental discharge of a revolver in the hand of her husband, Mrs. Cora Shipman, of Bevington, was shot and fatally wounded on last Sunday afternoon. At the first report it was not known whether it was a case of murder or accidental shooting, but later developments leave no doubt that the affair was a distressing accident, and that if ever a man was to be pitied, this unfortunate husband is. Mr. Shipman, who was the station agent of the Rock Island railroad company at Bevington, had purchased the revolver to defend himself from a gang of rowdies who had been in the habit of annoying and threatening him, and in displaying the weapon to his wife to show how he could defend himself if attacked, it went off and fatally wounded her.

Mr. Shipman had been station agent and express agent at Bevington since last November. As is well known, former agents had had trouble there with a set of fellows who regarded the depot merely as a place for receiving and drinking their whisky and beer. If an agent refused to deliver their wet goods sent under fictitious names, without payment, and declined to drink and carouse with them, he was allowed no peace. Most of the agents have allowed them to have their own way, but Mr. Shipman went there under positive orders from the company not to do so. He refused to deliver liquor sent to fictitious parties, and when he did deliver it he required the charges to be paid. He also declined to get up in the night to give people their jugs and kegs. He adhered to these rules in all cases, except once, when the gang surrounded him at night and forced him under threats of death to go and get their liquor, which they then refused to pay for. As a consequence he was constantly annoyed and threatened, and even his wife was insulted. We have seen a most pathetic letter written by Mrs. Shipman to Superintendent Stillman, without her husband’s knowledge, in which she recounted the persecutions to which they had been subjected, and asked if they could not be removed to “civilization.” She said that her husband never went away from home but that she feared he would either be killed, or kill some one. One night not long ago, Shipman was ro----- while on his way home and fired at his assailants with his revolver. The weapon was an old-fashioned one and did not work well, so he discarded it and bought a new self-cocking Smith & Wesson.

On the night of the 20th inst. some of his enemies showed their utter beastliness and depravity by breaking into the depot and dumping in a wagon load of filth, with which they daubed the desk, seats, floor, walls and even the ceiling. The waiting room could not be used for days, and he was compelled to call upon the section hands to clean out the building.

On last Sunday afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Shipman went out riding with some friends. When they returned to town Mrs. Shipman went directly home and her husband followed her, after attending to some matters at the depot. They then began to talk about their troubles. Mrs. Shipman being seated in a low rocking chair, and her husband standing near by. He remarked that if he were attacked he was prepared to defend himself, and to show how he would do so, he drew his revolver which he carried in a belt. He said afterward that he thought he had his finger not on the trigger but on the guard, but s he raised the weapon it went off and the bullet struck Mrs. Shipman in the neck. He caught her and prevented her from falling from the chair, and then went to the door and called in two neighbor women who were near by. He then ran for a doctor, and went back to his house, reaching there before the physician came. By the time he got back quite a number of people had assembled and Mrs. Shipman had been brought out in front of the house. He bent over her and asked her if she could speak. She answered by shaking her head. He then asked if she could forgive him. In reply she put her arms around his neck, and in a few moments was dead. It was found afterward that the bullet after entering the neck had ranged downward and come out below the tenth rib. Mr. Shipman immediately went and surrendered himself to a justice. Word was sent to Winterset, and County Attorney Mott, Deputy Sheriff Hillan and Coroner Martin responded. Bevington is situated on the line between Madison and Warren counties, and the accident occurred in the latter, so the inquest was held in Warren county, under the charge of Justice Cleland. The verdict was to the effect that the deceased came to her death from a pistol shot wound accidentally inflicted by her husband.

Mr. Shipman was at once discharged. Aside from a few of his enemies no one claims for a moment that the shooting was otherwise than accidental. Some stories were at first circulated to the effect that their domestic relations were not pleasant, but all the evidence and circumstances go to show that they lived together as an affectionate man and wife. The officers of the company speak well of Mr. Shipman and say that they have a place ready for him if he wishes to accept it.

The station at Bevington is now in charge of another agent, a young man from Colfax. The company has been keeping two guards there, as there is still fear of trouble. As stated elsewhere, the station will probably be discontinued. The people of Bevington ought in the name of common decency to put a stop to the reign of ruffianism that comes to prevail there.


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